The UFC 201 preliminary card is wrapped up, and it was a very entertaining one. We saw a couple of fast finishes, including a KO inside of 15 seconds, and a KO of the Year contender from Nikita Krylov. Here's how the first half of UFC 201 played out.
Nikita Krylov def. Ed Herman via KO (head kick) at :40 of round 2 - Light Heavyweights
Krylov scored first with a left hand and a kick to the body. He rushed forward into the clinch, where he threw knees to the body. Herman fired back one of his own knees before they separated. Big left hand by Herman backed Krylov up after Krylov caught Herman with a head kick. Herman turned his striking into wrestling and took Krylov down and advanced to half-guard. Krylov shook him off and went back to his feet. Big head kick wobbled Herman and they exchanged in close quarters. Krylov's striking really troubled "Short Fuse." The hard body kicks were really sapping Herman's energy.
Spinning backfist in round 2 was blocked by Herman, who got Krylov on the counter and then a knee. Krylov PLANTS Herman with a gigantic head kick to end everything. Goodness gracious. That's one of the KOs of the year.
Pearson was the aggressor early in the 1st, but neither he nor Masvidal had landed a really big strike. Masvidal fell back after Pearson had a caught a kick, and Pearson briefly fought from top position. Masvidal threatend with upkicks and then prevented Pearson from dragging him back to the mat. Big knees and elbows by Masvidal jarred the head of Pearson as they separated from the clinch. Masvidal was active with searching for the high kick and closed the round with a more pronounced advantage on the feet. Masvidal's jab was sharp.
Ross opened up the 2nd with leg kicks, which caught the attention of Masvidal. A crushing left decked Pearson and he was clearly in bad shape. Masvidal couldn't get the finish on the ground but Pearson was in big trouble. Masvidal got his back as Pearson scrambled up and then Jorge slammed him back down. Masvidal went all-out in search of the finish but Pearson survived remarkably. Pearson fought his way at least back into some semblance of competitiveness in the final 2 minutes, including a quick takedown off of a kick, but Masvidal sprung back up swiftly. Big round for Masvidal but Pearson hung in tough.
Interestingly enough, replays showed that Pearson went to the wrong corner and also raised his arms as if he thought the fight was over. It wasn't. Pearson did get a nice left hook in on Masvidal, but otherwise was having problems with Jorge's reach and his jab. It was somewhat of a dropoff from the first two rounds, with Pearson unable to mount enough offense to trouble Masvidal.
Anthony Hamilton def. Damian Grabowski via KO (punches) at :14 of round 1 - Heavyweights
An uppercut, a left hand, a right hand, another uppercut, and another swarm of punches felled Grabowski in 14 seconds. Lightning-fast KO by Anthony Hamilton. Grabowski was twitching on the ground. It was a scary KO but thankfully Grabowski was able to regain his consciousness and make his way out of the cage. Second fastest KO in UFC history, only behind Todd Duffee's starching of Tim Hague.
Wilson Reis def. Hector Sandoval via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:49 of round 1 - Flyweights
Sandoval came out firing with plenty of big strikes thrown and landing on the Brazilian. Reis wasn't having much more of that, as he got a reactive takedown but then was swept. Reis escaped from his half-guard and back to his feet. Reis used an outside trip to get him down again and immediately had full back mount and Reis flattened him out. Sandoval tried to scramble but gave up his neck and tapped to the rear-naked choke. Fastest submission in UFC flyweight history for Reis, who spoiled Sandoval's short-notice debut.
Michael Graves vs. Bojan Velickovic ends in a majority draw (30-27, 28-28, 28-28) - Welterweights
Not much happened in round 1 apart from a few leg kicks by "Serbian Steel." Graves didn't get a takedown in the opening round, but was successful in round 2 with his chain wrestling. Michael's grappling was on point as he had back control for a good chunk of the round, trying to work his way towards a rear-naked choke. Velickovic scrambled out of bad spots a couple of times, but Graves was relentless with his strength and control and dominated the round. Bojan got a takedown early in round 3 but lost control and Graves took him down. He went for back mount but was too high up and Velickovic got back to his feet. The rest of the round was largely forgettable and while Graves got a 30-27 on one scorecard, two judges deemed round 2 a 10-8 for Graves but gave Velickovic rounds 1 and 3. A rare majority draw outcome sees Graves keep his unbeaten record intact.
Damien Brown def. Cezar Arzamendia via KO (punches) at 2:27 of round 1 - Lightweights
Australia's Damien Brown put a whooping on Cezar Arzamendia. He knocked Cezar down with a hard right hand inside of a minute, pounced for the finish, but Arzamendia moved in for a heel hook attempt. Brown scrambled back to his feet, Arzamendia was still on unsteady legs, and moments later the fight ended with Brown jarring Arzamendia with right hands again, followed by ground-and-pound to seal it. Arzamendia is probably on his way out of the UFC, while an emotional Brown picked up his first victory inside the Octagon.